Android Wear Marshmallow update: All you need to know

Less swiping, more talking and wrist-shaking - latest smartwatch update lands
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

If an Android Wear smartwatch lives on your wrist, you would have been on high alert about the new update over the last few weeks since Google announced it.

With new features focusing on voice actions and gestures, alongside other key updates, the Android Wear Marshmallow update is one of the biggest improvements to the smartwatch platform so far.

The update, dubbed Marshmallow as mentioned, is officially Android Wear version And it's started to land on Moto 360 devices. It's rolling out to other devices soon.

Read on to find out everything you need to know...

New voice gestures

Saying "OK, Google" now lets you do a variety of things, like texting or asking a question. You'll be able to verbally send messages through more apps like WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Nextplus, Telegram, Viber and WeChat.

The official Android Blog notes you'll simply have command, "OK Google, Send a WhatsApp message to Nathan: I'll be right there."

Read this: Tizen v Android Wear

If your smartwatch happens to be a Huawei Watch or the larger 42mm Asus ZenWatch 2, you'll be one of the few who can use your Android wearable to make and take calls through Bluetooth, and listen to audio and video messages with the Glide app.

Improved gestures

Android Wear Marshmallow update: All you need to know

Last year's 5.1 update allowed you to flick your wrist to move between cards. The newest gesture set lets you expand a card, bring up apps, or return home with a push, lift or shake of your arm.

Android Wear super guide: The missing smartwatch manual

Here's a full list of the new gestures...

- See more details or take action on a card by holding your arm in front and pushing down quickly, then bringing your arm back slowly.

- Go back on a card by holding your arm in front of you and quickly pivoting up, then bringing it back slowly to the original position.

- Opening the apps menu on the watch face by holding your arm in front of you and pushing down quickly.

- Pull down settings by slowly turning your wrist away from you then flicking back towards you.

- Exiting to the watch face by holding your arm in front of you and shaking your wrist quickly.


As mentioned, the Moto 360 range is the first to receive the new features and the release notes for the trio (original, Sport and second-gen) mention a host of extra features that Google didn't detail in that blog post, including:

- 6 new languages supported.

- A doze mode that that helps to preserve your watch's battery life by shutting down background processes.

- Extra app permissions to manage exactly what you are sharing.

- Manual date and time setting, independent of the paired smartwatch.

- Bluetooth headset audio improvements to help eliminate choppy audio when on the move.

How we test


Lily is a writer and editor specializing in tech, video games, marketing, education, travel writing, and creative fiction. 

She has over 10 years of experience covering the technology beat.

Lily has a passion for VR and AR technologies and was associate wearables editor at TechRadar US, before joining Wareable as US editor in 2016.

Lily will graduate in 2023 with an MFA in Creative Writing.

In her spare time, Lily can be found knee-deep in zine collaborations, novel writing, playing Dungeons & Dragons or hiking and foraging for mushrooms.

Related stories